This is an update of St Michael’s Link with the Diocese of Newala in the south of Tanzania from May 2019
The good news is that the PCC has given full, unanimous approval to continue the link with Newala for the foreseeable future following a full review and discussion.
Recently The Newala Link Group produced a Ten-Year Report in April and the main editor, Keith Fenwick, commented to the PCC that reviewing 10 years of activity meant the report was substantial. You can read a copy of the report here.
Looking back to the beginning of the Link in 2009, plans were very tentative, and no one knew what would develop. Replies to the questionnaire circulated in January suggested that the Link has been very much valued and developed by the congregation and has as a way of fostering friendships. The Link Group is very grateful to everyone who returned a questionnaire, and thus giving us encouragement, good ideas for communication and offering support. Thank you everyone.
It is apparent in the accounts of the young people published in the report that visiting Newala has changed their lives. It is also apparent that the money we have sent to Newala has been used wisely. It has trained two priests now active in the diocese, it has improved education through the porridge project and improved health and well-being through providing water storage tanks, equipping a medical centre and providing an ambulance and so much more. There are many other projects we’ve supported over the last ten years. These projects always help the general population, most of whom are Muslim and who live in harmony with their Christian neighbours.
We have welcomed visitors here from Newala: Bishop Oscar and his wife, Doctor Issa and his wife, and George Mbesigwe and Elizabeth Mlanzi, our Link partners, last year. And people have visited Newala, coming back with faith rekindled, eyes opened to a different world and warm friendships.
So – to the future… Communicating with the wider church is vital and we aim to be better at it! Fundraising will continue and we’ve all kinds of things lined up: cake sales, an open garden, a ceilidh, a quiz night and maybe film nights… watch out for the news.
We always welcome people to our planning meetings. They’re sometimes after church, sometimes weekdays, and will always be well advertised. Our next is Monday 1 July at 7.30pm to plan the Open Garden event. Come and help us plan it.
The Link Group is also looking to arrange a trip to Newala in either 2020 or 2021 depending upon the availability of the Diocesan Bishop in Newala. If you would be intersted in joining the group on their visit please get in touch with them.
Finally, the Newala Link has always felt supported by your prayers, thank you.